Arg! Science fair ideas?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by whateveryousay2007, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. whateveryousay2007

    whateveryousay2007 New Member

    Here's my dilemia. It's not a conduct problem but I foresee it being one if I don't help my difficult child get something concrete started for his science project.

    The teacher volunteered my 8 year old to be in the science fair. He's great in science. (And it counts for a grade)

    The problem is the sheet that she gave us with ideas on it was called "GAY" (Sorry....gotta love the public school bus riders) by my child and that it was all boring.

    Ideas suggested by the school:
    What color attracts the most/least heat by the sun? (He already knows the answer)
    Which peanut butter is the stickiest? (He said it was stupid)
    Which dishwashing liquid creates the most suds? (Stupid)
    It doesn't get any better as the list went on!

    Everything on it is just too simple for him I was wondering if anyone had any ideas. I suggested one that kinda peeked his curiosity a little "Why does pop corn pop?
    He knew why, but thought it would be kinda cool.

    He suggested something that was interesting but I don't know if it'll work. Testing the effects of sensory (noises) on neurotypicals and Aspies. Reaction times, noise levels....etc. I told him I'd check into it if we couldn't figure anything else out.
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Here is a link for you to look at:

    Go to the "topic selection wizard". It allows you to answer some questions to get ideas about his level and area of interest and then gives you ideas and rates them by level of difficulty. I have used this site for the past 5 years for my difficult child and he has gotten a blue ribbon every year! Have fun!

    Some of the things we've done have been quicksand (which was tons of fun for him), teeth decay (have a great dentist that sent us to his oral surgeon for some teeth), clean air (making particle collectors in various locations), and this year we did surface bacteria (really, really cool - his favorite so far since he's a real germafobe and learned some great stuff about household cleaners and their level of effectiveness is preventing surface bacteria). Bet you guys could find something that he would be interested in and is appropriate for his age level.

  3. whateveryousay2007

    whateveryousay2007 New Member

    Thanks Sharon
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    We always went to the library to check out books on science fair projects. My kids would flip through the books to find topics of interest to them.

    My daughter just did a science fair project that might catch your difficult child's interest. She tested whether boys or girls were better at identifying different fruits using the sense of taste alone. She blindfolded her subjects (all the same age) and put ear plugs in their ears. They held their noses as they tasted the fruit. The results were interesting but not entirely surprising.

    A few years ago the same daughter did a project on whether twins and siblings were likely to have the same type of fingerprints (there are three different classifications of fingerprints). She actually "fingerprinted" a lot of kids in our neighborhood.

    Hope that helps.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Two we did that I remember as being pretty good were hatching chicken eggs in an incubator...set to hatch off the actual day of the fair....and we tested laundry detergents to see if certain ones really lived up to their claims or if generic was just as good. We took a white sheet cut it for however many detergents you are doing. Mark off say four sections on each piece and label with permanent marker...say grass, grease, blood and chocolate. Wash each one in a separate detergent and see what happens.
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Those were some great idea smallworld.

    My difficult child had to do a science project in 8th grade too, it was required of everyone. She tested differnt dog treats on our dog by lining six different ones up on the floor, always randomly placed so they were not in the same order, and wrote down in what order our dog chose them. It was so interesting as she almost always selected a certain one, Milk Bone Steak n Cheesers, over all the others. She kept track for a month and then analyzed the results and charted them. I often thought about sending it into Milk Bone to see if they would give us a years supply of treats lol.

    Good luck.
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911

    How about -

    Why I behave like I do and make Mom crazy?

    there is a really neat/cheap/quick science experiment you can do about velocity -

    You need 2 (2 litre) soda bottles,
    & Tape -

    It creates a vortex when you spin it and the tornado inside the bottle is pretty cool.

    He could tell them (in 8yo. terms) what causes a tornado.

    This wind blows this way - this wind blows that way - and spin the bottle - viola instant tornadic weather.

    Could draw pictures of tornado - then show the class in the bottles.

    Gotta admit - her ideas were pretty
  8. whateveryousay2007

    whateveryousay2007 New Member

    Yeah...I know. The sad thing is they are competing with 4th graders. They have the same 78 item list to choose from (or choose their own). My difficult child is just too smart for all of that. My concern is that if I let him choose his own topic it'll be considered too complex and they'll think I did it. LOL!
  9. change

    change New Member

    Yes! www.sciencebuddies website. My "parents" love it! I coach a science fair competition team every year in addition to hosting the school-wide science fair at my school. (I'm a science teacher.) It's a great website and very user-friendly. Does he like robotics at all? I've seen some original projects here at my school along those lines. (We also have a championship robotics team). All you need are the lego kits.

    Good Luck!
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Miss KT once made a battery out of a lemon, and it worked! It was a pretty straightforward project, not many parts to it, so it was perfect for her very short attention span.
  11. Here's an easy one. Density of liquids. Use a clear bottle, put liquid deteregent in first (a nice colored one) then water, then veggie oil. Also, on the same theme, a can of diet coke will float in water while a can of regular coke will sink. The sugar syrup is denser the the artifical sweetner.
  12. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I didn't read all of the other responses so sorry if this is a repeat. A woman at work just brought in sugar cookies in different baggies about two weeks ago. One bag had cookies made with regular sugar, one with brown sugar, and one with Splenda. He had the cookie tasters rate them by look and taste. It was lots of fun!
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I've got a few ideas for you.

    Aspies etc tend to be very interested in behaviour of others - animals, or people.

    An animal behaviour (ethology) study could be as simple as observing a family pet, drawing (or photographing) its most common body positions (such as lying down, sitting, alert, paying attention etc). You have to be very careful to not draw conclusions such as, "the dog is listening to what I say" - you would instead say, "the dog is in a sitting position (defined by illustration K), ears facing upright and forwards, eyes making eye contact with me as I speak."
    It sounds on the one hand simplistic, on the other hand too challenging. But a detailed study of one creature can be scientifically valid.

    Or, perhaps easier and equally challenging scientifically - map receptive fields on a person's body. It's an easy one for a kid to actually do, but requires a bit of scientific thinking.
    Theory behind it - we 'feel' because of nerve endings in the skin. Some parts of our bodies (lips, fingers, eyelids) need to feel in more detail, while for other parts (centre of the back; soles of feet) it's less important. The body doesn't waste resources, so we don't have fine detail capability where it's not generally needed.
    One sensory cell does not feed into one neuron (taking the message to the brain). Often multiple sensory cells (touch cells) feel into the same neuroon. This means that when the message gets to the brain, you can't tell exactly WHICH sensory cell has been triggered, of all the ones that feed into the same neuron (or nerve cell, transmitting the signal).
    The area covered by the collection of sense cells that feed into a single neuron, is called a RECEPTIVE FIELD. In your back, for example, receptive fields can be whole centimetres across. On your lips, receptive fields are in millimetres or tenths of millimetres.

    To do the experiment, you need a felt pen or biro, and a pair of dividers (those things that look like what you draw a circle with, only it's got a sharp point on both arms). And a ruler. Measuring off the ruler you set the dividers to a very small distance and touch an area on a blindfolded person. The person has to say whether they feel one point, or two. You check the area gently and thoroughly, and keep moving the dividers apart until the subject feels two points. The distance at which the subject changes from feeling one point to feeling two points, is the receptive field size in that part of their body. You then mark this on a chart of the human body.
    Repeat, for other areas. Compare places such as hands, feet, face, back, chest.

    Yu can also use as a resource, the "sensory homunculus". It's a figure made to show what we would look like if we changed our body shape so the existing receptive fields were all the same size.

    I think it might tickle difficult child's humour to be able to do a project where he can stick sharp things in people. But he has to be gentle or his subjects won't cooperate.

    I'll keep thinking, But my money's on behaviour and how people (or animals) react.